Tuesday, December 8, 2020
With more than 12,000 new cases reported today, the number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases topped 378,000 as of Tuesday, Dec. 8, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Pima County, which reported 957 new cases today, has seen 46,849 of the state’s 378,157 confirmed cases.
With 23 new deaths reported today, a total of 6,973 Arizonans had died after contracting COVID-19, including 730 deaths in Pima County, according to the Dec. 8 report.
The number of hospitalized COVID cases statewide continues to soar upward as the virus has begun to spread more rapidly, putting stress on Arizona’s hospitals and closing in on numbers not seen since July peaks. ADHS reported that as of Dec. 7, 3,157 COVID patients were hospitalized in the state, the highest that number has been since July 17. That number peaked with 3,517 hospitalized COVID patients on July 13; it hit a subsequent low of 468 on Sept. 27.
A total of 1,550 people visited emergency rooms on Dec. 7 with COVID symptoms. That number peaked at 2,008 on July 7; it hit a subsequent low of 653 on Sept. 28.
A total of 744 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care unit beds on Dec. 7, the highest that number has been since July 29. The number of COVID patients in ICUs peaked at 970 on July 13 and hit a subsequent low of 114 on Sept. 22.
Judy Rich, president and CEO of Tucson Medical Center, warned the Tucson City Council last week that local hospitals are near or at capacity.
“I believe stricter measures, like the ones we used earlier this year, are the only path to avert the impending crisis,” Rich told the council. “I recognize that the City might not have the legal authority to mandate such actions, but it should be the position of the City to advocate to state leadership that it is required to prevent unnecessary loss of life and illness.”
Pima County has seen a dramatic rise in cases in recent weeks, according to an Dec. 4 report from the Pima County Health Department. (Numbers in this report are subject to revision.) For the week ending Nov. 7, 2,119 cases were reported; for the week ending Nov. 14, 2,578 cases were reported; and for the week ending Nov. 21, 3,313 cases were reported.
COVID-related deaths in Pima County are down from a peak of 54 in the week ending July 4 but are on the rise. There were six in the week ending Oct. 24; 10 in the week ending Oct. 31 and five in the week ending Nov. 7.
Hospitalization admission peaked the week ending July 18 with 221 COVID patients admitted to Pima County hospitals, but those numbers have been on the rise in recent weeks. In the week ending Nov. 7, 90 people were admitted; in the week ending Nov. 14, 127 people were admitted; and in the week ending Nov. 21, 139 people were admitted.
Curfew in City of Tucson continues
A curfew in the city of Tucson from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. continues through Dec. 23.
On Nov. 23, the Pima County Health Department announced a voluntary overnight curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. every day until Dec. 31—but it’s not enforceable.
As part of the amended curfew agreement among the city’s council members, if Pima County changes their voluntary curfew time, Tucson’s curfew time will follow suit.
The curfew prohibits everyone from being in public places with the following exceptions:
Emergency response personnel
Traveling to and from work
Attending religious services
Caring for a family member
Seeking medical care
Fleeing dangerous circumstances
Traveling to perform or receive essential functions
City Attorney Mike Rankin specified traveling to essential businesses such as grocery, home goods and hardware stores is allowed. Travel to restaurants for consumption off-premises is also allowed by means of take out, delivery, curbside and drive-thru food orders.
“The curfew does not order the closure of any business at any particular time, instead, what it does is it regulates when people can be in public places, which includes traveling on the public streets,” Rankin said at last week’s council’s meeting. “It does not, as presented, prevent people from traveling to or from any essential activity or essential functions, even during the curfew hours.”
Offenders of the curfew will be subject to a civil infraction that holds a fine of up to $300.
Get tested: Pima County opening new sites alongside existing spots for free COVID testing
Pima County offers a number of testing centers around town.
You’ll have a nasal swab test at the Kino Event Center (2805 E. Ajo Way) the Udall Center (7200 E. Tanque Verde Road) and downtown (88 E. Broadway).
The center at the northside Ellie Towne Flowing Wells Community Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road, involves a saliva test designed by ASU.
In addition, the Pima County Health Department, Pima Community College and Arizona State University have partnered to create new drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites at three Pima Community College locations. At the drive-thru sites, COVID-19 testing will be offered through spit samples instead of nasal canal swabs. Each site will conduct testing from 9 a.m. to noon, and registration is required in advance. Only patients 5 years or older can be tested.
Schedule an appointment at pima.gov/covid19testing.
The University of Arizona’s antibody testing has been opened to all Arizonans as the state attempts to get a handle on how many people have been exposed to COVID-19 but were asymptomatic or otherwise did not get a test while they were ill. To sign up for testing, visit https://covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu/home.
—with additional reporting from Austin Counts, Jeff Gardner, Nicole Ludden and Mike Truelsen